Factors affecting the Development of Children
Development depends on a variety of factors such as
1. Hereditary potential
2. Biological integrity
3. Physical and psychosocial environment
4. Emotional stimulation
Infancy and childhood are the most crucial phases during which development takes place in the child.It would be imperative here to emphasize the importance of a secure and responsive parenting environment for the formation of the base for healthy patterns of learning.
Poverty in various sections of the world forms highest risk factor for poor development. Lack of stimulation, excessive stress, malnutrition, exposure to environmental toxins and diseases affect development.
The factors that help child development are listed below
Intelligence of the parents has direct correlation to the IQ of the child. There are numerous genetic causes for developmental delay and consequent mental retardation.
A bunch of factors which impair growth in uterus can potentially affect brain growth especially if they are sustained.
1. Maternal nutrition
Maternal nutrition has an adverse effect on birth weight and child development. Quality of maternal care forms and leads to lasting changes in stress reactivity, anxiety and memory in the child
2. Exposure to drugs and toxins
Various drugs and toxins such as environmental toxins can have adverse effect on child development
Drug and alcohol abuse from a major part of the problems worldwide.
3. Maternal diseases and infections.
Acquired infections like AIDS, rubella, CMV, herpes can have a severe impact on the brain growth of the child
Exposure to free radicals has been found culprit for causing cerebral palsy and developmental impairment.
Neonatal Risk Factors
Intrauterine Growth Restriction
In many growing countries, intrauterine growth restriction is primarily due to poor maternal nutrition and infections.
Babies born before 37 weeks of gestation have been found to have higher probability of impairment compared to counterparts with babies born before 32 weeks having highest risk.
Premature babies are at risk due to complications.
Post Neonatal factors
Infant and Child nutrition
Severe developmental impairment is caused due to deficiency of multiple vitamins and minerals.
Delayed Brain maturation, poor motor and social emotional development in early childhood and in infancy.
Iodine is a primary constituent of thyroid hormones which affect the central nervous system.
And regulate many psychological processes.
Children growing in iodine deficient areas are found to have an IQ 12,5 points lower than iodine rich areas.
A gamut of infectious diseases like diarrhea, malaria, parasitic infections, and HIV are associated with poor or substandard neurodevelopment.
Toxins like lead, arsenic, pesticides, mercury and hydrocarbons prenatally through maternal exposure and postnatally through breast milk, food , water or soil can have detrimental effects on the neurocognitive development.